As I have mentioned in my 2017: Year In Review post, I really love the fresh start of a New Year…but, having said that, I also don’t believe that we have to wait for a “New Year” to begin making changes in our life. Like, literally, you could wake up on April 22nd and decide that you want to start _____ and it’s just as awesome as it is for you to decide to make that change on January 1st. I don’t know if that makes sense, but what I think I am trying to say is that sometimes I get really annoyed with the fact that society pretty much tells us that we can put off a “better life” for ourselves for the start of the New Year as if some magical-goal achieving-life owning- fairy dust gets sprinkled all over planet earth at 12:59 on December 31st. Are you following me at all? It is like 6:30am and my kids didn’t sleep very well last night, so if not, I don’t blame you one bit. So, let me just make this straight up: WHAT IF YOU DON’T GET A NEW YEAR? Sorry… but the truth is that we are so not promised anything in life, especially the promise of “tomorrows.” My point in all of this is to say: if there are areas of your life that you aren’t proud of, that you feel could be better… now is the time, today is the day, and it’s NOTHING to do with the fact that tomorrow is a New Year (although, if you need that whole “New Year, New Me” thing to get you going, more power to you– let’s do it.)
We all deserve to live a life that we are proud of. We all deserve to get to the end of our day feeling proud of who we are, what we accomplished and what we plan to do with our tomorrows. It’s just the truth. Of course, life happens– and with that can come a lot of shitty things that make no sense and leave us wondering why, but, truth is, a lot of those things are out of our control. So, my whole stance on living a life that is built on faith (not just talking about “having faith”, but the true daily practice of living a life of faith) is this– life is GOING to happen, there are so many things that are so far out of my control– so, knowing this, witnessing this and living through it, I have decided that I am going to do my ABSOLUTE best to control what I can control. I can control: my mood (which affects my entire day), what goes into my body (which affects my mood, my weight, my health, my self confidence), the way I speak to people (which affects the way that I treat and speak to myself and which has the chance to give LIFE to others, etc). Knowing that I have the ability to control some factors of my life, helps me when uncontrollable things take place– which, as I have said before, is just the reality of life.
All of this rambling to say, there are a few things that I am going to do in 2018 to make sure that I am living my best possible life. Also, one more thing before I share with you my plans for myself– have you ever considered why it is so hard for so many of us to let others down/cancel plans/not show up/etc… but, we have no problem letting ourselves down/canceling plans we have made with ourselves/not show up for ourselves/etc? Why is that? Why is it so easy to let ourselves down by choosing to do things that we know won’t grow us, but, it’s literally so hard for us to do this to another person? Read this aloud: YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS. YOU DESERVE LOVE. YOU DESERVE HEALTH. YOU DESERVE TO BE PROUD OF THE PERSON THAT YOU ARE. So, for me, going into this new year, please stop putting those incredibly important things into other people’s hands…. and put them into your own. Watch how your life changes when you truly take the time out to pray, to trust your intuition, to build the life that you want. I am so excited for you, 2018 is going to be your best yet .
Continue striving for authenticity in all areas of my life.
What does this look like? I’ll share a quick story with you, but I am going to leave out names and details. R and I were driving in the car a few weeks ago and we were talking about a lot of things, but somehow our conversation turned into a discussion about authenticity. It started with him asking me “have you ever met somebody in “real life” that turned out to be so much different than you expected them to be? (read: have you ever followed somebody on IG/watched them on TV.. you get where I am going.. and you felt like you knew them, then you actually met them and it was like you had no idea who you were face to face with?). The answer is yes, I have, and he has too. There was this individual that we both thought was going to be xyz, and we spent a lot of time admiring them from afar and conjuring up all of these ideas about xyz, only to meet this person and realize that it wasn’t real. It is SUCH A LET DOWN.
2017 was a year that I truly embraced myself… it really started in 2016 when I became a mother, but I can truly say that I grew so much in this area of authenticity in this past year. I want to be the same person in all areas of my life. I don’t want to talk this big game about living a positive life, only to really be a negative nancy behind the scenes, I don’t want to talk this big game about self love, only to beat myself up about all of the things that I am/am not, I don’t want to show the world one thing and show my family another. I want to be authentic, in all areas. I want you to see me in real life, the same way you see me on social media.
I will continue to strive for this in 2018.
I want to make the time in my day to begin practicing yoga/meditation.. even if it is only for ten minutes. I have been reading a lot about the power of these two things, and it sounds like something that I want for my life. I taught a course titled “Stress and Human Health” when I was earning my Masters Degree at Purdue and I remember being blown away by the research surrounding stress in our lives. I can’t lie, motherhood can be stressful, marriage can be stressful, LIFE can be stressful… but, it’s all about how we handle this stress, because the truth is that we ALL have it.
I want to do better with handling my stress in 2018, and I will do so by practicing yoga and meditation.
Continue reading books.
Motherhood is busy. Straight up. Like, sometimes I have to hold my pee until nap time, busy.
How pee has anything to do with reading books, idk– but, straight up, I want to continue to make the time to read books in 2018.
‘When life gives you more than you could ever dream, build a longer table, not a higher fence.”– this is something that we try to live by in our daily lives. I want to make sure that giving back stays at the center of our family values. I want to make sure that my children always know how fortunate they are, and I will make sure this happens by showing them the world and giving them experiences. I want to be sure that as God continues to bless us, that I never forget what it feels like to want for things– and I will do this by forbidding myself of having every single thing that I want just because I can. It’s important for my husband and I to remember that there was a time in our lives when all we had was love– and we were so happy. If we could be happy with literally $160 combined in both of our bank accounts in college, we can surely be happy with far more than we ever dreamed (we just have to manage it well, and never forget that time that our card was declined for a $21 Thai meal on Purdue’s campus the night before flying to New York for the draft.) and, we will remember, because we will keep giving back at the center of who the Allens are.
Put Phone Down.
I am so guilty. My phone is 99.9% of the time in my hand.. and the reason I know I am guilty is because that .01% of the time when it isn’t Luca will bring it to me. The reality is that my phone is pretty much always in my hand because I am a psychopath (that is out of iCloud, Amazon, and phone storage (with the largest iPhone on the market, nonetheless) about documenting EVERYTHING. The truth is that I know that my phone is going to continue to be in my hand, but I am making a point to put my phone down at certain scheduled points in the day. For example, I have noticed that the hours of 5:30-7:30 are stressful AF in my house. It’s the end of the kid’s day and they’re tired, hungry, etc… and it’s the same time in the day that R will finally be returning home from work and I want to do my best to make sure the house isn’t a disaster and that I have at least considered what we are going to eat for dinner and it’s the time of the day when I realize that I am still potentially wearing the same thing I was wearing when he left the house at 5:30am.. SO. Going into 2018, I am going to put my phone away during these hours of the day because I feel that my children, my home, and myself could benefit from all of those extra minutes and attention. Am I the only one?
Continue Grace Allen, whatever that may mean.
This past year was the beginning of Grace-Allen.com and it is surely not something that I plan to leave in 2017. I don’t know what this space will look like in the coming year, but I am trusting God with that. I have an entire journal full of ideas and dreams when it comes to this “brand”.. but, above all of my plans and hopes and dreams for myself, if it isn’t in the big man upstairs plans for my life, those things don’t matter. Moving into 2018, I am going to continue doing what I am doing now, I am going to continue to pray about the things that I wish to be, and I am going to do my absolute best to keep this space something that you enjoy. I cannot thank you enough for your love and continued support. Stay tuned for 2018, it’s going to be a good one.
What are your plans for yourself moving into the New Year? Have you thought about it at all? It doesn’t have to be extravagant, it doesn’t even have to be something that you share with others. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to take some time to evaluate your life. Find a quiet space, sit, and reflect. You owe it to yourself. I would love to hear what you plan to focus on in the New Year. Leave a comment, message me on IG, whatever you are comfortable with. Let’s kick 2018’s ass together.
it’s never too late to live the life you’ve always imagined. xo, Grace